NICK HERBERT: Bypass is essential to protect the South Downs
The much-needed Arundel bypass is now in sight after Highways England announced its preferred route last week.
The southern-most route, Option 5a, has been chosen from a shortlist of three which were consulted on last summer.
There will now be a further statutory consultation on the preferred option, followed by an examination by the Planning Inspectorate and finally approval by the Transport Secretary, with work on the bypass due to begin in 2020.
With over 20,000 vehicle movements through Arundel every day, most of it not local traffic, the bypass is desperately needed.
It will hugely reduce congestion and rat-running through the historic town and the South Downs National Park.
There is a strong environmental case for the bypass.
Only two weeks ago Storrington was identified as one of the worst places in the country for air pollution.
The preferred route will go through a very small section right at the bottom of the national park, far less than the existing route, and will take traffic away from it.
I would have preferred option 3 – the original ‘pink-blue’ route which was agreed decades ago by all the local environmental groups – but I understand that the impact on replanted ancient woodland was considered too great.
Option 1 would not have been a viable solution – it would have increased traffic through the middle of Arundel by nearly two thirds and yet still would have produced delays with a roundabout.
With thousands more houses planned for West Sussex, congestion on the A27 will only get worse.
Doing nothing is no longer an option.
The Arundel bypass, which in my judgement is supported by the overwhelming majority of local people, is essential – together with upgrades at Chichester and Worthing – to free up traffic and protect the South Downs.
I have campaigned strongly for an Arundel bypass since I was first elected, winning the Government’s announcement of the scheme together with funding of up to £250million in December 2014.
I am encouraged that this important new infrastructure for our county is another step closer.
You can find further information, including the highlights of my diary each week, on my website: www.nickherbert.com.
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